Why is money one of the leading causes of divorce?

By Last Updated: July 6, 2024
Why is money one of the leading causes of divorce?

Studies show that there isn’t one cause to single out as the sole factor leading couples to divorce, but rather there are multiple factors at play such as a lack of commitment, infidelity, communication issues, unrealistic expectations, and stress about financial issues. Money can be the root of all evil and often spill into many of these factors.

Why does the topic of money become so stressful?

For many couples, the mere mention of the word “money” or anything remotely connected to it might stir up tensions and highlight where each partner is on a different page.

  • Misalignment of Values and Goals – Often couples might be on completely different pages when it comes to spending patterns and savings strategies. Depending on family backgrounds and habits learned early on, behaviors like reckless spending or extreme savings can put stress on relationships.
  • How Financial Stress is Handled: Even seemingly financially secure households can experience times of unforeseen financial stress. Unexpected expenses or a job loss can strain even the best relationships. Learning how to cope with life’s financial challenges is critical.
  • Poor Communication Skills: Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it disappear. In fact, it usually gets worse. If couples fail to have regular, open discussions about their financial situation, it can lead to deception, mistrust, and resentment.
  • Maintaining Control: Money can be a source of dominance and control in a relationship. If parties aren’t on a level playfield field, the environment is ripe for disagreements.

How do seemingly basic money problems evolve into divorce?

  • Increased Conflict: Financial pressures can lead to frequent and intense arguments. This can strain what little communication that does exist and erode the emotional foundation of a relationship.
  • Emotional Distance: Financial worries can create a feeling of being more like roommates than romantic partners. Couples may struggle to maintain the emotional connection and intimacy that is essential for a healthy marriage.
  • Resentment and Secrecy: When partners feel unheard or judged about their spending habits, it can breed resentment and distrust. This can lead to keeping financial secrets, further damaging the relationship.
  • Reduced Intimacy: Financial stress can be a major burden, impacting both physical and emotional intimacy. Couples may find it difficult to connect on a deeper level when they are constantly worried about money.

While money itself isn’t the only cause of divorce, the underlying issues it unveils might be. However, couples can navigate these challenges by:

  • Communicating openly and honestly about finances. No secrets.
  • Setting financial goals together.
  • Using joint accounts whenever possible.
  • Creating a budget and sticking to it.
  • Seeking professional financial advice if needed.

The overall themes are communication, honesty, and goal setting. No one wants to feel stressed out, misled, or kept in the dark. Just make a financial check-in part of your regular monthly routine as spouses. Turn off the tv, pour yourselves a drink, and talk about where you are, where you want to be, and how you’ll get there. The initial talks might not be easy, but you can tackle them as a team. Seeking help together as a couple is much less expensive than paying two expensive divorce attorneys.

Have questions? Feel free to contact us.

Missie Beach, CFP®, CDFA®
Senior Financial Advisor, Wiser Wealth Management

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